With 259 million painkiller prescriptions written in 2012 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the most common side effects experienced by patients being treated for chronic pain is opioid-induced constipation (OIC).
It should be common knowledge that prescription opioids have addictive properties, yet alarming survey results reveal that many healthcare providers do not understand the extent to which this is the case.
University of Toronto researchers have found a novel role for a cell membrane-anchored mediator in cancer pain. They suggest that the serine protease TMPRSS2—a gene previously shown to play a key role in some of the most aggressive forms of androgen-fuelled cancers—appears to be the trigger behind the most severe forms of cancer pain.
The opioid epidemic began nearly 30 years ago and since that time small steps have been taken to reverse its effects. The question remains whether too much damage has already been done to fix the problems in a timely manner.